Magic is back.
Peter S. Beagle returns with an inspired collection of new fantasy that showcases his incomparable mastery and range. In these tales—with settings as different as an impossible reconstruction of the Berlin Wall and the kitchen of Mrs. Eunice Giant (72 Fairweather Lane, East-of-the-Bean, Sussex Overhead)—warriors, monsters, and utterly ordinary people struggle with possession and forgiveness, life and love, hate and death...and the choices that come after everything else has been stripped away by Fate. Inside these pages:
—The daughter of the Shark God leaves her Pacific island home, determined to find her mysterious father and hold him accountable for the curse of her own existence.
—A dilapidated dragon, a frustrated cop, and an unapologetic author square off over a dangerously abandoned narrative.
—An enchantress-to-be sings of power, desire, and the ultimate betrayal of her heart.
—In a nothing diner, in a nowhere town, a woman lost in grief learns how to fool Death with one artful shuffle of the deck.
Featuring a brand-new Schmendrick tale set before The Last Unicorn, plus twelve other wonderful stories, Sleight of Hand is suffused with a luminous misdirection that moves the soul as much as it fools the eye. Always ready to delight his readers, Beagle proves yet again that he is a master magician.
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Peter S. Beagle is the best-selling author of The Last Unicorn, which has sold a reported five million copies since its initial publication in 1968. His other novels include A Fine & Private Place, The Innkeeper’s Song, and Tamsin. His short fiction has been collected in four volumes by Tachyon Publications, including The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche, The Line Between, We Never Talk About My Brother, and Sleight of Hand. He has won the Hugo, Nebula, Mythopoeic, and Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire awards and the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement.Review:
Multiple Hugo and Nebula award winning Beagle opens readers’ eyes to wonder with his latest collection of 13 short stories. Each piece bridges the rich intersection of fantasy and fairy tale, reality and possibility, exploring predestination, fate, and the power of love through characters that come to vivid, three-dimensional life within a few short pages. Beagle’s lyrical writing is set in a wide range of landscapes both familiar and fresh, with twists on Jack and the Beanstalk, monsters and dragons, a singing enchantress, ghostly photographs, and a modern werewolf tale. The Bridge Partner’ is more noir than fantasy yet fits within the collection quite well, as does the deeply chilling, experimental, and dark Dirae.’ The Woman Who Married the Man in the Moon’ features two lost children and an encounter with an early version of Schmendrick the Magician from his classic novel, The Last Unicorn. Each story is introduced with some background about its origin.”
Wise, warm and deep.”
The New York Times
This bittersweet collection of 13 recent stories pays tribute to the complicated power of family ties. Sleight of Hand’ lauds the good magic of parental love, while What Tune the Enchantress Plays’ shows its dark side. Children of the Shark God’ addresses children’s influence on parents, and in La Lune T’Attend’ a grandfather protects his descendants from the family’s longtime enemy. Slighter but still entertaining are Up the Down Beanstalk,’ the nostalgia-heavy The Rabbi’s Hobby’ (Brighton Beach Memoirs with magic), and Oakland Dragon Blues,’ whose title character deserves better than his pat ending. The surprise hit of the collection is The Bridge Partner,’ psychological horror in the best Twilight Zone tradition. Fans of The Last Unicorn will also appreciate The Woman Who Married the Man in the Moon,’ a Schmendrick prequel in classic bittersweet Beagle style.”
Washington Post Book World
This 13-story anthology will entice even the most jaded reader to read long hours into the night.... Sleight of Hand will beguile and enchant.”
New York Journal of Books
Beagle still has the power to surprise...a new collection of stories by one of the all-time greats.”
Sleight of Hand is a strong collection by an author whose skill has only improved with time...a must-have.”
Few can match [Beagle] when it comes to a particular mix of the fantastic and the ordinary, with a tinge of nostalgia. As one character observes, the magic is in the telling, always.”
After reading Sleight of Hand, I know exactly why Beagle has this mythic reputation as one of the best of the best in fantasy and science-fiction literary circles. The man is amazing. Nearly every story in this collection was like a spell.”
Demonstrates yet again why [Beagle’s] perhaps the finest fantasy writer at short lengths working today.”
...not only one of our greatest fantasists, but one of our greatest writers, a magic realist worthy of consideration with such writers as Marquez, Allende, and even Borges.”
The American Culture
Engaging and wide-ranging selection of fantasies...the perfect book”
There’s quiet power here, and delicate craftsmanship, and most of all, a genuine emotional response that few short-story collections can generate.”
Green Man Review
"Peter S. Beagle is the magician we all apprenticed ourselves to."
—Lisa Goldstein, author, The Red Magician
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